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NCPCR Raises Concerns over Absence of KYC Norms for Gambling

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The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has brought to light a concerning issue regarding the absence of Know Your Customer (KYC) norms for gambling applications and websites.

In a recent communication addressed to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the NCPCR underscored how this regulatory gap has facilitated the unlawful participation of minors on these platforms, posing a significant threat to their well-being.

NCPCR's Call to Action

The catalyst for this action was a complaint filed by the New Delhi-based trust, 'Society against Gambling,' which alerted the NCPCR to the proliferation of illegal online gambling websites and applications within India. These platforms, according to the complaint, operate without proper registration and lack stringent KYC protocols, thereby amplifying the risks associated with underage gambling.

The absence of KYC norms not only enables minors to access these platforms but also exacerbates the challenges of monitoring and regulating their activities effectively. Without robust identity verification measures in place, there is a heightened risk of exploitation, financial loss, and psychological harm to vulnerable individuals, particularly children and adolescents.

In the letter addressed to the IT ministry, NCPCR Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo emphasized the urgency of the matter by requesting a detailed report on all gambling apps and websites operating in India within a stipulated timeframe of 10 days. This proactive approach demonstrates the commission's commitment to safeguarding the rights and well-being of minors in the country.

Moreover, the letter includes alarming details regarding the modus operandi of these gambling platforms, highlighting their use of social media messaging platforms like Telegram to directly target minors. Such predatory tactics further underscore the need for new gambling regulations and urgent intervention to curb the proliferation of these harmful practices.

As an independent statutory body mandated with protecting the rights of children and minors, the NCPCR plays a crucial role in advocating for policies and measures that ensure their safety and welfare. By shining a spotlight on the lax regulatory environment surrounding gambling apps and websites, the commission aims to catalyze action from relevant authorities to address this pressing issue.

Strengthening Regulations against Underage Gambling

It is imperative for policymakers and regulators to collaborate in implementing stringent KYC norms and enforcing regulatory frameworks that prioritize the protection of minors from gambling addiction or potential related harms. Additionally, public awareness campaigns and educational initiatives are essential to empower parents, educators, and communities in recognizing and addressing the risks associated with underage gambling.

In conclusion, the NCPCR's initiative to highlight the lack of KYC norms for gambling apps and sites serves as a crucial wake-up call to address the growing threat posed to children and minors. Immediate action is needed to close regulatory loopholes, enforce stricter compliance measures, and foster a safer online environment for the future generation.

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